Special Combat Situations

Disclaimer: The following material consists of rulings on GURPS originally posted to electronic discussion forums, newsgroups, and mailing lists by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch. Some of these statements have been taken out of context, or have been altered for clarity or brevity; therefore, these are not "official" rulings, and neither Sean Punch nor Steve Jackson Games is responsible for the accuracy of the modified content.

These were collected by Travis Foster c. 2004-2005.


08-31-2004, 12:35 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: I think I must be Making a Mistake W/Explosions?

As for Explosive Fireball, the way it worked in 3e was that it only did full damage to the target struck. It did 1d less to everyone in the same hex as the target or in an adjacent hex — or 2d less to those two hexes distant. It magically stopped doing damage past that range, no matter what. See p. M38. So a 3d blast worked like this:

Target: 3d (10.5)
Target Hex: 2d (7)
1 Hex Out: 2d (7)
2 Hexes Out: 1d (3.5)
3+ Hexes Out: 0d (0)

In 4e, damage is full in the target hex, whether you're struck or not, and divided by three times distance in yards past that, out to yards equal to twice the dice of damage. So a 3d blast would work like this:

Target: 3d (10.5)
Target Hex: 3d (10.5)
1 Hex Out: 3d/3 (3.50)
2 Hexes Out: 3d/6 (1.75)
3 Hexes Out: 3d/9 (1.17)
4 Hexes Out: 3d/12 (0.875)
5 Hexes Out: 3d/15 (0.700)
6 Hexes Out: 3d/18 (0.583)
7+ Hexes Out: 0d (0)

The effect is that you can blow up everyone in a single hex much more effectively (10.5 vs. 7), do only half as much damage at 1-2 hexes away, but have a chance of wounding people at 3-6 hexes distance who could ignore the blast in 3e.


08-28-2004, 01:13 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Fencing in 4th ed

Remember, though, that in 4e, your encumbrance level subtracts right off the top of your attack roll and Parry. So the classic "fencer with just enough armor to avoid Medium encumbrance" — at Light encumbrance — is at -1 to attack and parry. Also note that there are much more detailed rules for light weapons being broken or knocked away by heavy weapons and strong opponents.

08-30-2004, 05:41 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Fencing in 4th ed

The way GURPS works in practice is that fighters in 1v1 combats nearly always retreat for the bonus, so by giving fencers +3 instead of +1, we're giving them a huge advantage that will apply most of the time. In 19 years of running combats since Man to Man (1985), I've never known a fighter not to retreat if he could.

To connect GURPS to reality: When you're racing to score a point and aren't going to suffer anything worse than the loss of a match, and when you have to obey right of way and other niceties, you're playing a game, not fighting. I suspect that if someone lunged at you with a pointed piece of metal, you'd give ground just in case. This is why Saber defaults to Saber Sport-3 …

08-30-2004, 09:07 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Fencing in 4th ed

Originally Posted by Lancewholelot

Are you making the retreat count as the character's step for the next turn? I remember that this was made optional in CI. Is there an official rule in 4e that's more firm? I can see that retreating is much more useful if it doesn't count against move on the next turn.

Retreating doesn't count against movement … but if you sprint or otherwise move faster than your normal Move, you can't retreat! (In effect, a character in combat can push himself to get +1 Move for either sprinting or retreating, but not both.)


08-30-2004, 12:54 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Flail vs. foil

The rules are meant to reflect low mass and long lever arm. These features make fencing weapons adequate for parrying similar weapons, as they are light and have lots of parrying surface, but not so good for parrying much of anything else. Flails are especially nasty because, in the process of sweeping a light blade aside, they can wrap around and hit the wielder — something that maces can't do.

Thus, we give fencing weapons +2 to parry over and above all other weapons if the fighter retreats a little (+3 vs. +1), to reflect the fact that the speed of the parry allows precise coordination betwen the parry and the step back. We also give them a smaller penalty to parry multiple times per turn, to reflect the short recovery time after a parry. But we make them easy to break and sweep aside, and give them problems with weapons that can wrap as they sweep. It's an abstraction, for sure, but a gameable one.

08-30-2004, 05:31 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Flail vs. foil

Originally Posted by lawman

Personally, I don't like to say impossible. I prefer Highly Improbable, and I usually define this as -10 or more, if a player really wants to try it.

That's the spirit! And this is why 4e includes a handy list of standardized difficulty mods that run from -10 to +10.

Hit Locations

09-03-2004, 06:55 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Targeting Chinks in Armor

For areas other than the torso, we simply assumed parity with eye slits, which are -10 to hit. For the torso, we assumed the gaps would be twice as large, hence -8. Note that your hand-sized gaps would be 4-5" (10-13cm) across. Looking that up on p. B550, we see that's -7 to hit. So the difference between your description and the Basic Set is only -1, which is plenty easy to justify by saying that -8 is an average, and good armor might really be -9.

09-04-2004, 03:44 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: Targeting Chinks in Armor

Originally Posted by Carraronan

And what about Counterattack after a Swing?

It's a pretty darned specialized rule … it applies to specific sorts of weapons vs. specific sorts of armor, at a specific set of TLs, while the attacker and defender are doing specific things. Feel free to go nuts with house rules like that, but don't expect to ever see them in print. We're trying to move GURPS away from "so many rules it scares newbies."

09-06-2004, 12:47 AM forums.sjgames.com Re: Revisions to Hit Location Table

The problem with near/far was that they weren't defined by the game system! In 3e, they were just this abstract concept left to the devices of the player. On top of which, the concept only makes sense for fighting stances where one side of the body is toward the foe. There are plenty where you're square-on and both sides are equidistant. But right/left always make sense, and don't require needless complexity about stance. Shield/not shield isn't ambiguous … and if you look, you'll see there's a difference.

Visibility and Flashlights

09-04-2004, 03:59 PM forums.sjgames.com Re: flashlight rules

Originally Posted by laserdog

p. 394 on visibility says that individual item descriptions will talk about the range and radius of items like torches and flashlights.

The idea is that the beam (for a flashlight) or light radius (for a burning torch) is enough to reduce penalties to -3 in the beam path or area, yes. Assume a 15' (5-hex) radius for most ordinary torches.